In Georgia, adopting a child can be the most rewarding thing you ever do in your life. Certain adoptions can also qualify you for special assistance and benefits. State law allows for these benefits as some children with special needs are at risk when they stay too long in foster care and would do much better in permanent homes.
How are children classified as having special needs?
According to Georgia family law, children who are considered special needs must meet certain criteria. Children are classified as being special needs and can qualify an adoptive family for assistance and benefits when the following is true:
- The child has been in the care of a private or public agency or person other than their legal or biological parent for over 24 months.
- The child has a physical, mental or emotional disability and was diagnosed and validated as such by a licensed psychologist or physician.
- The child is a member of a sibling group of two or more children who have been placed in the same home for adoption.
If you are planning to adopt a special needs child and want adoption assistance, you must have first applied for and been approved for it through an Adoption Assistance Program agreement. Per family law in the state, this agreement must be signed before the adoption is final. This is to ascertain that the adoption wouldn’t be possible without assistance.
What types of adoption assistance are available?
Different types of adoption assistance and services are available for families who adopt special needs children. They include:
- Ongoing monthly payments: The adoptive parents can receive monthly payments that are no more than what the child’s guardian was receiving while in foster care.
- Medicaid/Amerigroup coverage: Medical coverage from Medicaid or Amerigroup is continued after the child is adopted.
- Non-recurring funds: A one-time payment of no more than $1,500 per child is provided to the family to cover adoption fees.
- Special Services: Special Services are funded by the state to cover certain costs for the child, including medical, therapeutic and orthodontic treatment as long as the child is under 18.
An attorney may be able to help you secure these benefits and assistance if you adopt a special needs child. Your attorney may offer advice and support throughout the legal process of adoption.